George Hyland’s Diary, February 1919

By Anna Clutterbuck-Cook, Reader Services

Today, we return to the diary of George Hyland. You can read more about this diary series in the January 1919 post. Today, we follow George through a February that was “very fine weather — (for winter),” punctuated by rain and snow that was quick to melt — not like our own February so far! George’s month is punctuated by running errands in North Scituate, regular visits to his uncle Samuel (with milk for Ellen and chocolate candies for “little Elizabeth”), and chopping wood. He also hitches a ride on the back of an “auto truck” and buys a new pair of rubber boots with felt leggings which he pronounces to be “good ones.”

As readers have probably already noticed, George is a keen and regular observer of the weather. In February he notes the appearance of northern lights and also identifies planets and constellations he sees in the clear night skies. This habit, along with his mention both in January and February of “boxing the compass” — a mariner’s exercise — has made me wonder whether he had been at sea in his younger years, or if not learned to record the weather from a relative who was a mariner.

Without further ado, join George on his daily rounds during February 1919.

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Feb 1. Cut wood in swamp 5 1/2 hours. Cold and very windy W.N.W. temp. 16-40. In eve went to N. Scituate — walked down and back (5 miles). Bought some groceries at Mrs. Seavern’s store, also some choc. candy for little Elizabeth. A little warmer in eve. tem. 26 bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s.

2d. (Sun.) Clear; very windy; tem. 18-42; W.N.W. Got some wood in swamp. Fine weather for season. Paul Briggs spent eve.
Here.

3d. Cut wood (in swamp) 5 1/4 hours. Cold. Windy. Clear. tem. 17-42; W.N.W. Fine weather for season. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s early in eve. Fine eve. Wind very light. Clear. Mrs. Cora Vinal at Mrs. Merritt’s — will stay a week.

4th. Cut wood in Swamp 5 1/2 hours. Fair. W.S.W.S.E. tem. 36-45. In eve went to N. Scituate, bought some groceries at Mrs. Seavern’s store — also some choc. candy for Elizabeth – 3 cts. Light rain in eve. Walked to N.S. and back. Boxed compass 4 times forwards and backwards while going to N.S. — N. to right back to N. then to left back to N., then same by E., S., and W.

5th. Cut wood in Swamp 5 hours. Fine weather, cloudy, A.M. 10 A.M. clear; W.N.W. tem 20-42. Early in eve. Went to N.Scituate bought some bread, also bought some choc. Candy for Elizabeth – 2 cts. Eve. clear. Cold. — but fine for season. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s.

6th. Cut wood 5 1/2 hours. Very fine weather — for winter. Clear; W.N.W. tem. 16-36. Eve. clear; tem. 24. Went to N. Scituate early in eve. — walked down and back. Stores all closed when I arrived there. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s, then went to Hwd. Litchfield’s and bought some bread.

7th. Cut wood 5 1/2 hours. Fine weather, clear; tem. 20-38; W.N.W. Called at S.E. Hyland in eve. Bought 2 loaves of bread at H. Litchfield’s and some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s, called at Uncle
Samuel’s and got some milk for Ellen at Mrs. M’s. Fine eve. Planets and stars bright. Venus in W., Jupiter, Sirius Canis Major and Proceon [sic] (Canis Minor) make an obtuse triangle near Orion.

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8th. Cut wood in Swamp 5 1/2 hours. Fine weather, clear, tem. 25-39. W.W. and S.E. par. Clou. ate in aft. Early in eve. Went to N. Scituate. Bought some groceries at Mrs. Seavern’s store, also at H. Litchfield’s, also bought some choc. Candy for Elizabeth — 3cts. Eve. hazy. W.S.E. 11:30 P.M. W.W.; clou. A large piece of heavy wood fell on my right foot — hurt one of my toes badly this afternoon. Light S. storm late in the night.

9th. (Sun.) Clear to par. Clou. W.N.E. tem. 25-35. Got some wood out of the Swamp and put it in the cellar. A few flakes of snow in aft. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s in eve. Spent eve at. S.E.
Hyland’s — S.E.H. gave ^me a fine Baldwin’s apple — grew on a very small tree. I picked all of his apples last fall. Eve. clear, cold. Fine weather for the season.

10th. Cut wood in Swamp — 4 hours. Snow storm early A.M. W.N.E. — very windy. Fare [sic] par. clou. aft. clear. tem. About 25-32. W.N.E. cold and windy. Early in eve. bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s. Fine eve. clear. wind mod. N.E.

11th. Cut wood 6 hours. Cold. clear. W.N.W., S.E. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s early in eve. tem. To-day 16-28. Eve. clear. frosty. 7 P.M. tem. 12. Cold night.

12th. Cut wood 5 hours in Swamp. Fine weather — clear; W.N.W. — S.E.; tem. 10-36. Early in eve went to N. Scituate — bought some groceries at Mrs. Seavern’s store. Also some choc. candy for
Elizabeth — 3 cts. Walked down and back. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s. Fine eve.

13th. Cut wood 6 hours. Very fine weather, clear, tem. 18-40; W.N.W. early in eve went out to H. Brown’s Store then went to Mrs. Merritt’s and bought some milk. Circle around the moon in eve. 11:30 P.M., clou. Will prob. Snow or rain soon.

14th. Rain all day, W.S.E. tem. 27. Early in eve went to H. Brown’s Store. Bought 2 loaves of raisin bread. 30. Eve. colder, W.N.W., fog and mist, rain.

15th. Snow storm at times. W.N.W. tem. About 33-36. Early in eve. Went to N. Scituate — bought some groceries at Mrs. Seavern’s store — also some choc. candy for Elizabeth — 3cts. Bought some
milk at Mrs. Merritt’s. eve. clou. to partly clou. W.W.

16th. (Sun.) Par. clou. To clear, tem. About 32-40. W.N.W. Cold and very windy in eve. bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s in eve.

17th. Cut wood in Swamp 6 3/4 hours. Clear; W.N.W.; tem. 20-38; windy. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s in eve. — also got some for Ellen. Fine eve.

18th. Cut wood in Swamp 6 3/4 hours. Cold and windy. N.W. tem. 18-38. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s and some bread at H. Litchfield’s in eve. eve. cold, very windy. clear. 11 P.M. par. clou.

19th. Cut wood 6 3/4 hours — in Swamp. Clear. cold. windy — N.W. Eve. windy. cold. clear. tem. to-day — about 16-38. In eve. bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s and some bread at H. Litchfield’s. Cold night.

20th. Cut wood in swamp 5 1/2 hours. Very fine weather — (for winter) tem. 16-36; W.N.W. clear. Early in eve. before supper went to N. Scituate bought some groceries at Mrs. Seavern’s Store — also at Jos. H. Vinal’s store. Also bought some choc. candy for Elizabeth — 3cts. Walked down and back. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s. Northern lights in eve.

21st. Cut wood 5 hours in the Swamp. Cloudy, very chilly, wind S.N.S.E. tem. 24-36. Began to snow about 3:50 P.M. W.S.E. light snow storm all eve. Early in the eve went to N. Scituate — rode down with Willard Litchfield — on the rear end of auto truck, walked back. Bought some groceries at Jos. H. Vinal’s store, and a pair of rubber boots with felt leggings at Mrs. Seavern’s store. 3.92 — also some choc. Candy for Elizabeth — 3cts. Then went to H. Litchfield’s and bought 2 loaves of bread — 30. Very light snow storm all eve.

22d. In forenoon hauled wood (over 1/2 cord) out of the Swamp. 1 1/4 hours; in aft. cut wood in —

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— the Swamp 3 1/2 hours. Snow storm early A.M. — about 1 inch of snow — all melted in aft. Clou. to-day; tem. 34-40; W.S.E. early in eve. Went to H. Litchfield’s and bought some bread, then went to Mrs. Merritt’s and bought some milk. Eve. clou. W.S.E. to E. 10 P.M. light rain. Called at Uncle Samuel’s on way back from Mrs. M’s. Wore my new boots in aft. Good ones.

23d. (Sun.) rain until about 3:30 P.M. W.N.E. then W.N.W. Colder. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s early in the eve. Very wet all around here. Eve. par. clou. 11:30 P.M., clear. Windy. W.N.W.

24th. Clear; W.N.W.; tem. 34-45. Windy. In aft. cut wood in Swamp 2 1/2 hours. Very wet in swamp. Early in eve. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s. Also bought some for Ellen. Fine eve. Paul Briggs spent eve. here.

25th. Cut wood in Swamp 6 1/2 hours. Fair to cloudy; tem. 32-41; W; S.W., N.W., S.E. In eve (before supper) went to N. Scituate bought some groceries at Mrs. Seavern’s store — also choc. candy for Elizabeth – 2cts. Walked down and back. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s. Eve. clou. 12:05 (mid.) began to rain. W.S.E. will prob. be a storm. Rain all night.

26th. Rain until about noon. W.N.S. and N.W. Clear, very windy in aft. (max. wind about 36 n.) Called at Uncle Samuel’s in eve. Eve. clear, windy, cold.

27th. Cut wood in Swamp 5 1/4 hours. Clear; W.N.W. to S.W.; tem. 17-34. Eve clear.

28th. Cut wood in Swamp 4 hours — finished cutting 7 1/2 cords of hardwood (maple and yellow birch — also a few sticks of white birch) 225 per cord at $16.87 also have finished out 1/2 cord on a
sled — 25. Clear in forenoon. Warm. W.S.W. tem. 30-48. Frost this A.M. Light rain 1 P.M. to 1:30 P.M., then clou. to par. clou. Eve. clear. to par. clou. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s early in eve. Called at Uncle Samuel’s. L. H. Hyland has paid me for cutting the wood. Began to rain about 11:40 P.M. Light rain.

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If you are interested in viewing the diary in person in our library or have other questions about the collection, please visit the library or contact a member of the library staff for further assistance.

*Please note that the diary transcription is a rough-and-ready version, not an authoritative transcript. Researchers wishing to use the diary in the course of their own work should verify the version found here with the manuscript original. The catalog record for the George Hyland’s diary may be found here. Hyland’s diary came to us as part of a collection of records related to Hingham, Massachusetts, the catalog record for this larger collection may be found here.